June 2011

Sabathia Fans 13 As Yankees Sweep Brew Crew

GAME 79

YANKEES 5, BREWERS 0

The Milwaukee Brewers must have gazed out at the huge presence of CC Sabathia on the Yankee Stadium mound and wondered what might have been.

After leading the Brewers to a three-month run at a Central Division championship in 2008, Sabathia spurned a five-year, $100 million offer to stay in Milwaukee to sign a seven-year, $160 million offer with the Yankees. After Sabathia struck out a career-tying best of 13 batters and he blanked the Brewers on six hits and two walks over eight innings what the Brewers lost must still haunt them to this day.

Sabathia won his fourth straight start and he now has won eight of his last nine starts. Sabathia (11-4) also becomes the first 11-game winner in the majors as the Yankees swept the Brewers on Thursday for their fifth straight victory and their 16th victory in their last 20 games.

Robinson Cano actually provided Sabathia and the Yankees all they really needed in the first inning with a two-run double in the first inning off Brewers starter Randy Wolf (6-5). Mark Teixeira added to the margin with a leadoff home run in the third inning, the 300th home run of his career and his fourth home run in his past five games. Teixeira now leads the majors with 25 home runs on the season.

Backup catcher Francisco Cervelli drove in the other two runs on two-out RBI singles in the third and the eighth innings.

Wolf was touched for four runs on seven hits and three walks and he struck out three batters.

The only batter that gave Sabathia any trouble was Ryan Braun, who extended his hitting streak to 20 games and was 3-for-3 with three singles and a walk. The key inning for Sabathia was when he walked Braun in the third inning to load the bases with two out and he was forced to pitch to Prince Fielder. But Sabathia fanned Fielder on three straight sliders and he never was really challenged the rest of the afternoon.

With the victory, the Yankees have now improved their season ledger to 48-31, the best record in the American League. They also kept their 2 1/2 game lead over the slumping Boston Red Flops, oops, Sox in the A.L. East. The first-place Brewers fell to 44-38.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • With the Yankees resting Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez and Russell Martin, manager Joe Girardi was counting on a good effort from Sabathia. Instead he got a great one. Sabathia threw 118 pitches, 77 of them were strikes (65%). The 13 strikeouts were all swinging and Sabathia ties an outing on Sept. 14, 2007 when he struck out 13 Royals pitching for the Indians. It is now pretty clear that Sabathia is on one of his patented summer runs where he becomes almost impossible to beat.
  • Give credit to Girardi for calling for a double steal with Bret Gardner at second and a slow Nick Swisher at first. Both made it safely and it set up Cano’s two-run double to left-center that scored them easily. The Yankees patience played a part in Wolf’s downfall. They made him throw 36 pitches in the first inning.
  • Cervelli has not been hitting this season and his throwing has been erratic all season. But on Thursday he contributed two key two-out RBI singles. He was 3-for-4 in the game, which raised his batting average to .231. Cervelli knows Martin is the unquestioned starter and youngsters Jesus Montero and Austin Romine are coming on fast. So Cervelli has to play solid defense and get timely hits if he wants to stay the backup.
  • Teixeira’s home run was a blast deep into the left-field bleachers. His 300 home runs are the most for a switch-hitter through his first nine major-league season. Mickey Mantle is second on the list with 280. The fan who caught the ball turned it over to Teixeira in exchange for a signed ball and bat and a chance to view batting practice on the field.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

There was no negatives today. It was a thorough domination from Sabathia. The offense scored him five runs and the defense committed no errors. What is there to complain about? This Yankees team is beginning to look an awful lot like the 2009 version. Look out!

BOMBER BANTER

Sergio Mitre is back with the Yankees. Mitre, who was traded during spring training to the Brewers in exchange for outfielder Chris Dickerson, actually was activated and warmed up in the eighth inning of Thursday’s game. Mitre was designated for assignment by the Brewers before the series began. The Yankees acquired him from the Brewers for cash considerations on Wednesday night. Mitre was 0-1 with a 3.27 ERA in 33 innings with the Brewers. To make room on the roster, the Yankees designated veteran right-hander Buddy Carlyle for assignment.

ON DECK

The Yankees open the month of July by ending interleague play in 2011 against the crosstown rival New York Mets

The Yankees will open the series Friday with Ivan Nova (7-4, 4.26 ERA). After throwing an eight-inning gem against the Reds, Nova gave up four runs on on six hits — three of them homers — in six innings against the Rockies on Sunday. He is 0-0 with a 4.05 ERA against the Mets in his career.

The Met will counter with lefty Jonathan Niese (7-6, 3.67 ERA). Niese left his last start in the sixth inning due to a rapid heartbeat but he has been cleared medically to pitch on Friday. Niese has never faced the Yankees.

Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

Russell’s Muscle Backs A.J. As Yanks Beat Brewers

GAME 78

YANKEES 5, BREWERS 2

If there was any doubt that a combination of back and toe injuries had affected Russell Martin at the plate all you had to do is look at the .229 average with which he entered Wednesday’s game against Milwaukee.

He had entered May with a .293 average with six home runs and 19 RBIs. But the bruised toe and the sore back took their toll and Martin slumped most of May (.200) and all of June (.185). It had been 68 at-bats since Martin had homered. That is until the fourth inning.

Martin clubbed an 0-2 change-up from Shaun Marcum into the left-field bleachers for a three-run home run that backed the seven-plus strong innings pitched by A.J. Burnett as the Yankees downed the Brewers in front of a raucous crowd of 46,450 in the Bronx.

Martin’s heroics capped a four-run inning that erased a 1-0 lead the Brewers had staked in the first inning on an RBI single by Ryan Braun that drove in Nyjer Morgan.

Robinson Cano opened the frame with a lined triple to center off Marcum (7-3). Nick Swisher followed with a lined single to right to score Cano. Jorge Posada hit a lined shot off the right-field wall for a single and Swisher was able to reach third. Then Martin delivered the blow that was Marcum’s ultimate downfall in the game.

The Yankees wore out Marcum over five innings, making him throw 100 pitches. He gave up four runs on five hits and three walks and he fanned six batters.

Burnett, however, pitched better. He stayed out of trouble by getting the benefit of three double plays turned behind him, including a spectacular catch on a Mat Gamel drive to deep center by Curtis Gramderson, who relayed to Cano and Cano threw on to Teixeira to double up Corey Hart off first base in the second inning.

Burnett (8-6) was touched for another run on a Prince Fielder RBI fielder’s choice with the bases loaded in the sixth. But Burnett wiggled out of further danger by getting Hart to ground into a forceout to end the rally.

The Yankees added a run in the bottom of the sixth on what originally was a disputed home run by Posada. Posada lined a ball off reliever Tim Dalton that landed on the top of  the wall in the right-field bleachers, but he was tagged out by Rickie Weeks because first-base umpire Adrian Johnson ruled the ball bounced back into play. However, manager Joe Girardi insisted the umpiring crew review the call with the assistance of replay and, after a brief look, crew chief Gary Cederstrom ruled it was a home run in which a fan had fumbled the ball back into play. So Posada was credited with his ninth home run of the season.

Burnett left the game with a runner on in the eighth having given up two runs on four hits and two walks and he fanned four. David Robertson struck out two in pitching a scoreless eighth and Mariano Rivera fanned one in pitching a perfect ninth for his 21st save of the season.

The Yankees have now won 15 of their last 19 games and they also have won all their interleague series this season, compiling a 10-4 record.

With the victory, the Yankees are a season-high 16 games over .500 at 47-31 and they extended their lead over the slumping second-place Boston Red Sox (or is it Red Flops?) to 2 1/2 games in the American League East. The Red Flops, er, Sox have now lost six of their last seven games and they are sinking faster than David Ortiz standing on a 10-foot-high mound of pizza dough. The NL Central Division-leading Brewers dropped to 44-37.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Hitting coach Kevin Long and the Yankees hope that the work Long has done in the batting cage with Martin in getting him to use his legs more in his swing will now pay off with results like Wednesday night’s home run. Martin had no home runs and just five RBIs in June and he had not had any kind of an extra-base hit since a home run he hit on May 24 against Toronto. Martin is narrowly leading in the All-Star balloting for AL catchers and a bounceback at the plate could help his chances of making the team.
  • Swisher extended his hitting streak to six games. He is 9-for-21 (.429) in that span with three home runs and nine RBIs. He has raised his season average to .250. He is not going to want June to end. He is hitting .325 with seven home runs and 23 RBIs for the month.
  • Posada has a modest four-game hitting steak in which he is 7-for-14 (.500) with two home runs and four RBIs. Posada is now hitting a scorching hot .391 for the month of June despite not starting most of the road interleague games because he is the team’s DH.
  • Burnett is simply pitching much better than he did in 2010. This season he has not failed to pitch at least five innings. Last season he had 10 starts that lasted less than five frames. He has eight quality starts out of his 17 starts this season and he lowered his ERA to 4.05. We have seen flashes of “Bad A.J.” this season but the sightings have been fewer and in much smaller durations.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Alex Rodriguez had one of those games he would like to forget, His eight-game hitting streak was snapped and the combination of Marcum and reliever Kameron Loe made him look bad. Marcum fanned him twice and Loe got him swinging in the eighth for three awful looking strikeouts.
  • Mark Teixeira did not look much better in his four plate appearances. Marcum fanned him in the first and reliever Zach Braddock fanned him in the seventh. Teixiera still is a sucker for a change-up in the dirt. He swings over it every time and he looks pretty bad doing it.
  • Eduardo Nunez is making Yankee fans long for the return of Derek Jeter at shortstop. Nunez made yet another error on Wednesday. It is his 10th error overall and his ninth in limited play at short. Nunez fielded a grounder from Weeks cleanly in the eighth inning but he threw in the dirt to first and Teixiera was unable to scoop it. Sabermetricians must love Nunez’s range, but this is the reason why Jeter wins Gold Gloves. He records outs on balls he can reach. What is the point of being able to range 25 feet to your right to stop a ball when you throw the ball over the first baseman’s head?

BOMBER BANTER

The Yankees starting rotation got a major boost on Wednesday. The Yankees are leaning toward starting Bartolo Colon on Saturday at Citi Field against the New York Mets. Colon returned to the team on Wednesday from Tampa, FL. He will take part in batting practice and fielding drills and if there are no setbacks he will be activated on Saturday. The Yankees would use Brian Gordon if Colon is unable to make the start. Colon, 38, has been on the disabled list since suffering a mild left hamstring strain on June 11.  . . .  The Yankees also got great news on Phil Hughes. The right-hander was so impressive in his third rehab start on Wednesday at Double-A Trenton that they might cut his rehab short and activate Hughes soon. Hughes threw 88 pitches over 6 1/3 innings of three-hit ball. He gave up one run, walked two and struck out eight. Hughes has been on the disabled list since April 15 with right shoulder inflammation.  The question is what will the Yankees do when Colon and Hughes are activated? That would give them six starters.  . . .  The Yankees said Jeter could play his first rehab game on Saturday for Double-A Trenton. Jeter, who is rehabbing a mild strain in his right calf, likely would need just two rehab games and could be activated on Monday in Cleveland, if there are no setbacks.

ON DECK

The Yankees have already clinched the three-game series with Milwaukee and they go for the sweep on Thursday.

The Yankees also will have their hottest pitcher going. Left-handed ace CC Sabathia (10-4, 3.25 ERA) is coming off an eight-inning, one-run performance on Saturday, which was his third straight victory. He has also won seven of his last eight starts. He will be pitching against his former team and he is 0-1 with 4.85 ERA against them in his career.

The Brewers will counter with veteran lefty Randy Wolf (6-4, 3.20 ERA). Wolf is 6-2 with a 2.75 ERA in his last 14 starts. He is 0-1 with a 7.20 ERA against the Yankees.

Game-time will be at 1:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

Swish, Tex Drive In 4 As Brewers Flop In Big Apple

GAME 77 

YANKEES 12, BREWERS 2

The Milwaukee Brewers came to New York as a first-place off-Broadway success story. After the thorough thrashing they took from the Yankees in the Bronx on Tuesday night, they might want to retool before the second show.

Nick Swisher and Mark Teixeira each homered and drove in four runs while Freddy Garcia pitched two-run baseball over six innings as New York tagged Zack Greinke and Milwaukee early and often for their 13th win in their last 17 games.

Greinke (7-3), who spurned a potential trade to the Yankees because he was unsure he could handle the media and fan spotlight, looked as if he wished he was pitching elsewhere instead of in front of a Yankee Stadium crowd of 45,575. But his teammates did him no favors either with a series of mistakes that led to the Yankees chasing the right-hander with seven runs in only two innings. It was Greinke’s shortest outing since April 16, 2007.

It also was the first time in 180 starts in which Greinke did not record a strikeout.

It all began going downhill for Greinke on his second delivery when he hit Brett Gardner with a pitch. Curtis Granderson then lofted a routine fly ball to center-field but Nyjer Morgan slipped on the turf and the ball fell harmlessly to his right for an RBI triple that scored Gardner. Teixeira plated Granderson on an infield grounder to make 2-0.

Though Greinke escaped the first without giving up another run, he gave up a single to Alex Rodriguez, a walk to Nick Swisher and, for some reason, when Posada grounded a ball to third baseman Casey McGehee, McGehee elected to try to tag Rodriguez at third rather than throw out a slow-running Posada at first.

McGehee missed the tag and the bases were loaded. But Greinke was able to get Russell Martin to fly out to end the inning and it cost him 27 pitches.

But the second inning would be even worse for Greinke. Eduardo Nunez opened the frame with a single and Gardner drew a walk. After one out, Nunez and Granderson executed a double-steal and Nunez scored on another Teixeira groundout. Rodriguez walked and Cano laced a single to center to score Gardner from third. Swisher then made the game a laugher by blasting a 2-0 Greinke fastball into the right-center-field bleachers for his 10th home run of the season.

The line on Greinke: Two innings, five hits, seven runs, all earned, two walks, no strikeouts and a hit batter. He threw 56 pitches.

Meanwhile, Garcia was keeping the power-laden Brewers off-balance with his off-speed stuff. Though Garcia gave up an RBI single to Mat Gamel and a sacrifice fly RBI by Yuniesky Betancourt in the fourth, Garcia (7-6) ended up with his 10th quality start out of his 14 starts this season.

Teixeira added to the rout by hitting his 24th home run of the season in the sixth inning off reliever Marco Estrada. It was the third consecutive game in which Teixeira has homered and he is now tied with Jose Bautista of the Blue Jays for the major league lead.

The victory was not only sweet because it put the Yankees at a season-high 15 games over .500 at 46-31. It also was sweet because erstwhile Yankee demon Cliff Lee outdueled and shut out Josh Beckett and the Boston Red Sox 5-0. That means the Yankees now lead the flagging Red Sox by 1 1/2 games in the American League East. The Brewers record is now 44-36.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Swisher added an RBI double in the eighth inning and was 2-for-4 with a walk in the game. Swisher, who began June hitting .213, has now raised his average to .249. He has hit .325 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs this month. Swisher also had a dazzling game in field with two outfield assists and two plays where he cut potential doubles into singles with sliding stops. Swisher threw home attempting to nail Corey Hart in the fourth inning on Betancourt’s sac fly. Hart scored easily but Martin completed a double play by throwing out Gamel trying to take second on the throw. In the sixth, Swisher fielded another single by Gamel but threw out Hart on a perfect one-hop throw to Martin.
  • Teixeira’s power output over the past three games has been amazing. Tex is 4-for-13 (307) with three home runs and seven RBIs in that span and he has eight home runs and 24 RBIs for the month. However, Teixeira is only hitting .221 in June. When Teixeira signed with the Yankees before the 2009 season, he had only one season in which he had less than .281 (He hit .259 in his rookie season). However, in 2010 Teixeira hit .256 and this season he his hitting .246.
  • It is going to be tough for the Yankees to decide what they are going to do when Phil Hughes returns to the rotation. Garcia and Ivan Nova are making it hard on manager Joe Girardi. Garcia went a solid six innings and threw only 76 pitches, 49 for strikes. He gave up two runs on eight hits, no walks and he fanned one. Garcia lowered his ERA to 3.28, which is third best among the starters. Bartolo Colon leads the team with a 3.10 ERA and CC Sabathia is next at 3.25.
  • Rodriguez quietly had another very good game. He reached base in three of his four plate appearances and was 2-for-3 with a pair of singles, a walk and two runs scored. Rodriguez singled in first inning to where normally a second baseman would play. The Brewers employed an odd shift that had second baseman Rickie Weeks playing to the right of second base. No other team has employed that shift against Rodriguez because when Rodriguez is hitting well he hits a lot of balls to right-center.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

There was nothing that could be termed negative in this game. Pitching, defense and timely hitting were all there. The Yankees look like an elite club now.

BOMBER BANTER

Colon pitched an exceptional 60-pitch simulated game on Monday that has the Yankees thinking he could start this weekend in the Subway Series at Citi Field. Colon has been on the 15-day disabled list since June 11 with a mild left hamstring strain. Colon took part in bunting drills on Tuesday in Tampa, FL, an indication the Yankees may be considering activating him. Colon will re-evaluated in by the training staff in New York on Wednesday and a decision will be made then. If Colon is unable to pitch this weekend, Brian Gordon will start for him for the third time.  . . .  The Yankees other man in Tampa, Derek Jeter, also made some progress on Tuesday. Jeter, on the DL since June 14 with a right calf strain, took part in batting practice, fielded grounders and ran the bases for the first time. But Jeter only ran at about 50 percent. Jeter likely will have a two-game rehab assignment when he is able to run 100 percent over several days.

ON DECK

The Yankees will try to win their three-game series with the Brewers on Wednesday.

They will start right-hander A.J. Burnett (7-6, 4.15 ERA). Burnett remains the most vexing pitcher the Yankees have ever had. He became the first pitcher in Yankees’ history to strike out four batters in an inning but he gave up four runs and lost to the Colorado Rockies in his last start. Though he has a 3.26 ERA in his last three starts, he is 1-2. He is 1-2 with a 6.39 ERA lifetime against the Brewers.

For the second straight game, the Brewers will start a right-hander who pitched in the American League and knows the Yankees well. Shaun Marcum (7-2, 2.95 ERA) lasted just three innings in his first start after recovering from a left hip flexor injury. He is 1-4 with a 6.55 ERA against the Yankees in his career.

Game-time will be at 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast by the YES Network.

Young Nunez Keys Yanks’ Win On Old-Timers’ Day

GAME 76

YANKEES 6, ROCKIES 4

On a day the New York Yankees celebrated its living legends on their 65th annual Old-Timers’ Day at hallowed Yankee Stadium, it was 24-year-old Eduardo Nunez — the youngest player on the roster — who delivered the game-winning hit and it was 41-year-old Mariano Rivera — the oldest player on the roster — who closed the game out in the ninth.

Nunez stroked a one-out RBI single off reliever Matt Belisle (5-3) in the seventh inning to score pinch-runner Chris Dickerson from second to break a 4-4 tie as New York downed Colorado on Sunday and won the three-game series from the Rockies.

Colorado actually enjoyed a 3-0 lead in the game on the strength of solo home runs by Ty Wigginton and Chris Ianetta and a sac fly by Todd Helton off Yankee starter Ivan Nova in the first five innings. The Rockies, meanwhile, were cruising behind 24-year-old rookie right-hander Juan Nicasio, who had retired the Yankees in order for the first four innings.

Nicasio eeven opened the fifth by retiring Alex Rodriguez on a flyout to right. But after having thrown 62 pitches and facing a 2-1 count on Robinson Cano, Cano broke up a potential Nicasio no-hit bid with an lined opposite-field single to left. Five pitches later, Swisher broke up Nicasio’s potential shutout bid with a two-run blast into the right-field bleachers for his ninth home run of the season.

Four pitches after that, Jorge Posada erased Nicasio’s lead with his eighth home run of the season, a rope that landed in the Yankees’ bullpen in right-center. So within a span of 10 pitches, the Yankees finally formally introduced themselves to the rookie.

However, the Yankees’ own rookie pitcher Nova was unable to hold on to the tie in the sixth. Wigginton connected on a 3-2 pitch for his second solo home run of the game off Nova and the Rockies reclaimed the lead.

But, the Yankees chased Nicasio from the game in the bottom of the sixth witha bunt single by Brett Gardner, a stolen base by Gardner and a walk to Curtis Granderson. Belisle entered the game and retired Granderson at second on a comebacker to the mound. But Alex Rodriguez tied the game with a ground single into left to score Gardner.

That set up the Yankees’ seventh inning. With one out, Posada drew a walk off Belisle. Then All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki booted a hot smash grounder off the bat of Russell Martin for an error. Dickerson was then sent in to pinch-run for Posada and he scored after Nuuez slipped a bouncer through the hole between third and short to score Dickerson with what would prove to be the winning run.

Mark Teixeira gave the Yankees an insurance run in the eight inning when he led off with a solo shot to left off left-hander Mark Reynolds, Teixeira’s 23rd home run of the season, tying him Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista for the major-league lead.

The Yankee bullpen did the rest. Boone Logan got three outs in the seventh and David Robertson pitched a perfect eighth, striking out two batters. But Rivera needed only 14 pitches — nine of them strikes — to strike out Wigginton, Charlie Blackmon and Ianetta in order to pick up his 20th save in 23 chances. Logan (2-2) got credit for the victory in relief.

With the victory the Yankees improved their season ledger to 45-31. They have won 12 of their last 16 games and they remain a half-game ahead of the second-place Boston Red Sox atop the American League East. The Rockies dropped to 38-39.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Since taking over for an injured Derek Jeter as the starting shortstop on June 14, Nunez is 12-for-41 (.293) with a home run and five RBIs. He has failed to get a hit in only three of the 12 games he has started. Brian Cashman said it best when he said the Yankees have no interest in potential free-agent shortstop Jose Reyes. The Yankees have Jeter signed for four years and Nunez could be starting for half the teams in baseball now. They are set at the position.
  • Swisher continues to improve from the left side of the plate. His home run in the fifth inning was his sixth of the season from the left side. Despite hitting a sizzling .342 right-handed, Swisher is only hitting .203 left-handed. But he has raised his average to .245 by hitting .319 in June with six home runs and 18 RBIs.
  • Posada ended a 119 at-bat home run drought on June 22 in Cincinnati after he had hit six home runs in his first 16 games this season. His eighth home run on Sunday came only 11 at-bats after his seventh. Posada may be hitting a woeful .100 with no home runs and just one RBI against lefties. But he is hitting .270 with eight homers and 24 RBIs against right-handers this season.
  • After Luis Ayala gave up a single to Ianetta to begin the sixth inning, Logan, Robertson and Rivera were perfect the rest of the way. They threw a combined 42 pitches, 32 of them for strikes. They struck out six of those nine batters they faced and only one ball reached the outfield. Is it any wonder that the Yankees bullpen is No. 1 in the majors in ERA?

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • It looked as if it was going to be another one of those games that the Yankees looked hopeless against a pitcher they have not seen before. Nicasio was getting the Yankees out even though he was falling behind in the count to just about every batter in the first four innings. Fortunately, Cano’s single made him work from the stretch for the first time in the game and the Yankees took advantage right away.
  • Nunez may be a coming star with his bat and his ability to steal bases, but his fielding is a long way from looking major league. In the first inning, Nunez allowed a sure double-play ball off the bat of Jonathan Herrera to roll under his glove for his ninth miscue of the season in limited starts. Nova pitched out of the jam by retiring the next three batters but Nunez is going to have improve his concentration in the field.
  • Martin was one of two Yankee starters who did not get a hit in the game. The other was Curtis Granderson. Martin also committed a throwing error on a steal attempt by Ianetta in seventh inning. That was his fourth error of the season.  On the bright side he has caught 29% of base-stealers against him this season, which is right around his career average of 30% for his career.

BOMBER BANTER

There were loud ovations for Lou Piniella, Joe Torre and Bernie Williams from the sellout crowd of 47,894 during the Old-Timers’ Day celebration before the game. This was the first time the three had participated in an Old-Timers’ Day since they retired from baseball. But the biggest fan favorite is still 86-year-old Yogi Berra, who drew the loudest ovation when he was introduced. Tino Martinez was the hero of the game with a two-run home run off David Cone to give the Yankees a 2-0 victory over the Clippers. The Yankees also honored long-time head trainer Gene Monahan, who is retiring after this season. Monahan threw out the first pitch in the Old-Timers’ game.  . . .  One player missing from the festivities was Derek Jeter, who is rehabbing a strained right calf in Tampa, FL. On Sunday he took swings off a batting tee and from soft toss but he still has not started a running program. Jeter hopes to begin running this week. There is no set timetable for his return.

ON DECK

The Yankees will have the benefit of another day off on Monday to rest their bullpen, rework their starting rotation and allow Alex Rodriguez to get treatment for his sore right knee. On Monday, the Yankees will play host to the Milwaukee Brewers for the opener of the three-game set.

The Yankees will open the series with 34-year-old right-hander Freddy Garcia (6-6, 3.30 ERA), who threw his third straight quality start and his sixth in his last seven starts. Garcia allowed two unearned runs on three hits over seven innings in a victory against the Reds on Thursday. He is 0-2 with a 3.98 ERA in his career against the Brewers.

The Brewers will start Zack Greinke (7-2, 4.77 ERA). The former Royals right-hander gave up just one earned run over seven innings in his last start. He has fanned 10 in his last two starts. Greinke is 2-3 with a 5.67 ERA against the Yankees. He also spurned a potential trade to the Yankees by stating that he did not think he could pitch in Yankee Stadium with his anxiety disorder.

Game-time will be 7:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by the YES Network.

Sabathia Wins Tenth As Yankees Roll Rocks

GAME 75

YANKEES 8, ROCKIES 3

When Jason Giambi swung and missed at a slider from CC Sabathia to strike out on three pitches in the second inning he knew that it was going to be a long day for Colorado.

Sabathia was simply in command for all of his eight innings and the Yankees’ offense, led by Alex Rodriguez’s three RBIs, did the rest as New York bested the Rockies at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.

Sabathia only gave up a two-out pinch-hit single to Seth Smith in his final inning of work. He scattered seven hits and walked one while fanning a season-high nine batters to become the major-league leader in wins with 10. Sabathia also tied Chien-Ming Wang for the fastest pitcher to win 50 games for the Yankees in 30 years. Both did it in their 85th starts.

Sabathia has also won three straight starts and has also recorded wins in seven of his last eight starts. Giambi put it best when he said, “He was lights out today.”

But while CC was in charge, there was a buzz in the clubhouse about the condition of Rodriguez, despite the fact he was 2-for-3 with a single, a double, a walk, scored a run and drove in three. The Yankees finally admitted last week that Rodriguez was being treated over a period of days for a sore left shoulder.

But Rodriguez showed a noticeable limp running out his two-run double in the third inning. Rodriguez told reporters that he injured his right knee as a baserunner on Sunday night against the Cubs. Rodriguez pivoted on the knee on a wild pitch and ran back third. In the process the knee became sore. Rodriguez has 10 hits and is hitting .556 in the five games since the report about the shoulder surfaced so it does not appear the Yankees are too concerned about it.

However, manager Joe Girardi did take Rodriguez out of Saturday’s game at the end of the seventh inning.

The Yankees rocked Colorado right-hander Aaron Cook (0-3) for six runs (five earned) on 12 hits and one walk in 5 2/3 innings. Mark Teixeira added a two-run home run off reliever Rafael Betancourt in the eighth inning, his 22nd of the season and that leaves him one home run behind the major-league leader, Jose Bautista, of the Blue Jays.

With the victory, the Yankees ended a two-game losing streak and improved their season mark to 44-31. But the best news of the day actually came in the evening. The lowly Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Boston Red Sox for the second straight night and the Yankees have now pulled into a tie with their rivals in the American League East. The Rockies fell to 38-38.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • The Yankees are very lucky to have Sabathia. He is the one pitcher they can count on to put in a good effort every five days as Bartolo Colon and Phil Hughes rehab their injuries on the disabled list. Sabathia did not get a decision in his first four starts and yet he is first major-league pitcher to reach 10 wins. Sabathia is 10-4 with 3.25 ERA. He also seems headed to a another selection for the All-Star Game in July.
  • Concern about Rodriguez aside, the third baseman is making it hard to bench him when he is so hot. In the month of June, he is 25-for-75 (.333) with four home runs and 20 RBIs. He has also driven in eight runs in his last five games. Perhaps Rodriguez may be rested on Sunday with the Yankees due for a day off Monday and Girardi could use him as a DH on Tuesday.
  • Name the two players who were the biggest disappointments entering June. Answer: Nick Swisher and Jorge Posada. Well, the pair combined to go 5-for-7 on Saturday with an RBI apiece. For the month of June, Swisher is hitting .319 with five home runs and 16 RBIs. Posada is hitting a sizzling .389 but, because he could not start in the recent road interleague contests, he only has a home run and eight RBIs.
  • Teixeira’s home run was his sixth in the month of June and has 19 RBIs during that span. However, Teixeira is batting a meager .221 in June. He is on a home-run pace in which he could hit more than 40 homers for the first time in his career since he hit 43 for the Rangers in 2005.

NAGGING NEGATIVES

  • Robinson Cano had his second consecutive 0-for-4 game after an 11-game hitting streak. Among his last eight at-bats, Cano has struck once and has hit into three double plays. He has hit only two balls into the outfield.
  • Whoever got the idea to recall journeyman right-handed reliever Buddy Carlyle from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday in exchange for Jeff Marquez, made a real big mistake. Carlyle was sent down on May 13 after posting a 0-1 record and 5.40 ERA in May. On Saturday, he entered in the ninth inning with an 8-1 lead and promptly walked the leadoff batter Jaosn Giambi, surrendered a two-run home run to Ty Wigginton and then walked a .230 hitter in Ryan Spilborghs. Girardi was forced to warm up Mariano Rivera before Carlyle finally decided to throw strikes and end the nonsense.
  • The Yankees hit into three double plays in the game. Two by Cano and one by Brett Gardner. The Yankees as a team have into 73 double plays in 75 games. They are among the league leaders in that dubious distinction. They are shooting themselves in the foot and ending promising innings when they do it. Russell Martin leads the team with 11. Cano has 10. Rodriguez has nine.

BOMBER BANTER

The team was cautious in its assessment of Phil Hughes’ rehab start on Friday for Double-A Trenton at New Britain. Hughes gave up one run on three hits in 3 1/3 innings. He threw 72 pitches, 42 for strikes. He topped out at 94 mph but averaged around 91-92. It was not as good as his first start but Hughes called it progress. The Yankees said Hughes will need a few more rehab starts before being activated.  . . .  Derek Jeter began taking swings off a tee at the team’s minor-league complex in Tampa, FL, but he has not been cleared to begin running. Jeter has been on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right calf and could have been activated on Wednesday. But that will not happen. Jeter’s status is unclear until he begins running.

ON DECK

The Yankees will conduct their 65th annual Old-Timers’ Day Game beginning at 11:30 a.m. EDT. The Yankees will welcome back Lou Piniella, Joe Torre and Bernie Williams among many others. Then the Yankees will try to win the rubber game of their series against the Rockies.

The Yankees will start 24-year-old right-hander Ivan Nova (7-4, 4.14 ERA), who is coming off his best start of the season. Against the Reds on Monday, Nova gave up one run on three hits over eight innings. He also fanned seven batters. Nova has never faced the Rockies.

The Rockies are pitching a 24-year-old rookie right-hander of their own, Juan Nicasio (2-1, 4.71 ERA), who gave up six runs on seven hits in his last start against the Indians. Nicasio is facing the Yankees for the first time.

Game-time will be 2:05 p.m. EDT and the game will be televised nationally by TBS and locally by the YES Network.

Yankees-Reds Prepare To Play Doubleheader

NEW YORK YANKEES at CINCINNATI REDS

Postponed – Rain

The Yankees and Reds game scheduled for Tuesday night was postponed early in the afternoon by rain.

The teams will play a split-admission doubleheader on Wednesday with the first game beginning at 12:35 p.m. and the second game beginning at 7:10 p.m.

Manager Joe Girardi is not happy about having to play a doubleheader but the Yankees did have the day off and will have days off on Thursday and Monday. So this can help rest a few ailing players like Alex Rodriguez (sore right shoulder) and Russell Martin, who was involved in a home-plate collision with Carlos Pena on Saturday and was hit in the jaw with a bat on a backswing from Aramis Ramirez on Sunday.

Girardi said Martin would catch only one of the games on Wednesday and the same likely was true for Rodriguez.

The Yankees did get a bit of good news before they rest up for the twinbill: The Yankees gained a half-game on Boston in the American League East because the San Diego Padres beat the Red Sox 5-4. The Yankees now trail by just a game.

ON DECK

In the first game, the Yankees will send Freddy Garcia (5-6, 3.63 ERA) to the hill. Garcia overcame a poor beginning in his start on Friday but ended up a loser after giving up three runs over seven innings. In his career, Garcia is 3-0 with a 2.57 ERA against the Reds.

The Reds are relying on right-hander Mike Leake (6-3, 4.04 ERA) in the first game. Leake faltered in the seventh inning against the Blue Jays, giving up three runs and he ended up taking the loss on Friday. Leake has never faced the Yankees.

In the nightcap, the Yankees will start veteran minor-league right-hander Brian Gordon (0-0, 3.38 ERA) in his second major-league start for the Yankees. In his first start, Gordon, 32, gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Rangers on Thursday. He did not get a decision but the Yankees did win the game. The former outfielder will get to test his hitting skills against the Reds.

The Reds are starting right-hander Johnny Cueto (4-2, 1.68 ERA), who could not pitch on Monday due to a stiff neck. He has been the Reds best pitcher since being activated from the disabled list in May. He is 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA against the Yankees in his career.

Yankees’ Dazzling Nova Leaves Cincy Red-Faced

GAME 71

YANKEES 5, REDS 3

Ivan Nova realizes that the Yankees will get starters Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon back soon and that could mean he could lose his spot in the rotation. On Monday, he seemed to be making a bold statement that he is not coming out of the rotation without a fight.

Nova (7-4) pitched a career-best eight innings, gave up only one run on four hits, walked none and struck out seven as New York swept into Great American Ballpark and downed Cincinnati to win its ninth out of their last 11 games.

Nova threw 70 strikes out of 105 pitches thrown (67% strikes) to tie Michael Pineda of the Seattle Mariners with the most victories by a rookie pitcher in the major leagues.

Nova got all the run support he really needed in the first inning as the Yankees tagged substitute starter Travis Wood (5-5) for four runs on five hits. Wood was moved up a day because right-hander Johnny Cueto had to be scratched from his start because of a stiff neck.

It looked as if Wood would end up with a stiff neck of his own as he kept turning to watch Yankee hits flying past him. Nick Swisher led off the game with a single and Mark Teixeira followed with a single one out later. Alex Rodriguez then opened the seal on the scoring with a single to left to plate Swisher. Robinson Cano followed with an opposite-field double to score Teixeira. Russell Martin’s groundout brought in Rodriguez and Andruw Jones followed with an RBI single to cap the four-run explosion before some of the sellout crowd of 41,173 had sampled their nachos.

The Reds looked as if they were going to answer back quickly when Drew Stubbs singled and stole second and Brandon Phillips singled Stubbs to third. However, Nova used his sinker to induce Joey Votto into a double-play in which Stubbs scored. But Nova stopped the Reds cold after that.

Stubbs reached on a swinging third strike wild pitch from Nova with two out in the third, Paul Janish stroked a two-out single in the fifth and pinch-hitter Fred Lewis singled with two out in the eighth. Nova retired the rest of the batters he faced on 17 groundouts, seven strikeouts and only three fly balls.

Wood, however, did settle down after the first inning and he retired 15 of the next 20 batters he faced. But Nova would not give in to the Reds.

The Yankees scored a run in the seventh inning due to the very giving nature of the Reds. Reliever Jose Arredondo walked Curtis Gramderson. Granderson stole second but was able to take third when Janish dropped a throw from catcher Ryan Hanigan and the ball rolled past him into shallow center-field. Granderson then scored on an Arredondo wild pitch.

The Reds did take advantage of Nova’s departure in the ninth when Phillips singled off Luis Ayala to begin the inning. Boone Logan was summoned to face the lefty Votto but Logan plunked Votto with his first and only delivery. Manager Joe Girardi then decided to go to Mariano Rivera with the tying run on deck.

Rivera retired Jay Bruce on a grounder that moved Phillips to third and Votto to second. Scott Rolen scored Phillips on an infield single and Chris Heisey then scored Votto by beating out what could have been a 1-6-3 double play. But Heisey was ruled safe. But Rivera ended the Reds faint comeback hopes by fanning pinch-hitter Edgar Renteria to notch his 18th save of the season in 21 chances.

With the victory, the Yankees improved their record to 42-29 and they remain 1 1/2 games in back of the first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Reds are 38-36 on the season.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Nova was never any better this season than he was on Monday night. He had only three three-ball counts and he did not walk any of them. Nova also lowered his ERA to 4.13. It is obvious that when Colon and Hughes do return they will be starters. The question is what will happen to Nova when they come back? On the basis of this effort, it would appear inconceivable they would put him in the bullpen.
  • Rodriguez continues to hit with a 2-for-4 night with a run scored and an RBI. Though Rodriguez admits he is nursing a sore shoulder it is not interfering with his play at all. He also made a nice diving stab to rob Heisey of a hit in the second inning. Rodriguez is hitting .292 with 13 home runs and 44 RBIs.
  • Cano is beginning to get his average back over .300. He also was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Cano now has a nine-game hitting streak in which he is 15-for-38 (.395) with two home runs and six RBIs. He is now hitting .295 on the season with 14 home runs and 47 RBIs.
  • Swisher is doing his job in the leadoff spot against left-handers. He was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored against Wood. He is 4-for-13 (.308) from the leadoff spot since Derek Jeter was injured.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • With David Robertson unavailable to pitch, Girardi decided to close the ninth with Luis Ayala and Boone Logan. However, Ayala gave up a leadoff single to Phillips and Logan hit Votto with a pitch to put the Reds in position for their major league-leading 23rd comeback victory. Fortunately, Rivera restored order. But it does show the Yankee bullpen does have a soft underbelly than can be exploited. The Yankees would love to have a healthy Pedro Feliciano and Rafael Soriano back soon to shore up the bullpen.
  • Andruw Jones had a severe brain cramp in the third inning and it short-circuited a potential big inning. With one out, Cano and Martin hit back-to-back singles. Jones then sent a slow bouncer to Rolen at third. Rolen forced Martin at second but Martin was able to upend Philips. However, Jones did not run the grounder out because he thought there were already two outs. Phillips got back up and threw Jones out by 50 feet. Jones is already on thin ice with the Yankees with his lack of production. Now it looks as if he is going to be a bit lighter in the wallet.
  • Eduardo Nunez got caught leaning after he singled to lead off the fourth inning and Wood picked him off first. These silly mistakes allowed Wood to survive that shaky first inning and pitch seven innings.

ON DECK

The Yankees will play the second of their three road contests against the Reds on Tuesday.

The Yankees will start veteran minor-league right-hander Brian Gordon (0-0, 3.38 ERA) in his second major-league start for the Yankees. In his first start, Gordon, 32, gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Rangers on Thursday. He did not get a decision but the Yankees did win the game. The former outfielder will get to test his hitting skills against the Reds.

The Reds are starting right-hander Johnny Cueto (4-2, 1.68 ERA), who could not pitch on Monday due to a stiff neck. He has been the Reds best pitcher since being activated from the disabled list in May. He is 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA against the Yankees in his career.

Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by MY9.

Yankees’ Dazzling Nova Leaves Cincy Red-Faced

GAME 71

YANKEES 5, REDS 3

Ivan Nova realizes that the Yankees will get starters Phil Hughes and Bartolo Colon back soon and that could mean he could lose his spot in the rotation. On Monday, he seemed to be making a bold statement that he is not coming out of the rotation without a fight.

Nova (7-4) pitched a career-best eight innings, gave up only one run on four hits, walked none and struck out seven as New York swept into Great American Ballpark and downed Cincinnati to win its ninth out of their last 11 games.

Nova threw 70 strikes out of 105 pitches thrown (67% strikes) to tie Michael Pineda of the Seattle Mariners with the most victories by a rookie pitcher in the major leagues.

Nova got all the run support he really needed in the first inning as the Yankees tagged substitute starter Travis Wood (5-5) for four runs on five hits. Wood was moved up a day because right-hander Johnny Cueto had to be scratched from his start because of a stiff neck.

It looked as if Wood would end up with a stiff neck of his own as he kept turning to watch Yankee hits flying past him. Nick Swisher led off the game with a single and Mark Teixeira followed with a single of his own one out later. Alex Rodriguez then opened the scoring with a single to left to score Swisher. Robinson Cano followed with an opposite-field double to score Teixeira. Russell Martin’s groundout scored Rodriguez and Andruw Jones followed with an RBI single to cap the four-run explosion before some of the sellout crowd of 41,173 had sampled their nachos.

The Reds looked as if they were going to answer back quickly when Drew Stubbs singled and stole second and Brandon Phillips singled Stubbs to third. However, Nova used his sinker to induce Joey Votto into a double-play in which Stubbs scored. But Nova stopped the Reds cold after that.

Stubbs reached on a swinging third strike wild pitch from Nova with two out in the third, Paul Janish stroked a two-out single in the fifth and pinch-hitter Fred Lewis singled with two out in the eighth. Nova retired the rest of th ebatters he faced on 17 groundouts, seven strikeouts and only three flyouts.

Wood, however, did settle down and he retired 15 of the next 20 batters he faced after the first inning. But Nova would not give in to the Reds.

The Yankees scored a run in the seventh inning due to the giving nature of the Reds. Reliever Jose Arredondo walked Curtis Gramderson. Granderson stole second but was able to take third when Janish dropped a throw from catcher Ryan Hanigan and the ball rolled past him into shallow center-field. Granderson then scored on an Arredondo wild pitch.

The Reds then took advantage of Nova’s departure in the ninth when Phillips singled off Luis Ayala to begin the inning. Boone Logan was summoned to face Votto but the erratic lefty plunked Votto with his first and last delivery. Manager Joe Girardi then decided to go to Mariano Rivera with the tying run on deck.

Rivera retired Jay Bruce on a grounder that moved Phillips to third and Votto to second. Scott Rolen scored Phillips on an infield single and Chris Heisey then scored Votto by beating out what could have been a 1-6-3 double play. But Heisey was ruled safe. But Rivera ended the Reds comeback hopes by fanning pinch-hitter Edgar Renteria to notch his 19th save of the season.

With the victory, the Yankees improved their record to 42-29 and they remain 1 1/2 games in back of the second-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Reds are 38-36 on the season.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Nova was never any better this season than he was on Monday night. He had only three three-ball counts and he did not walk any of them. Nova also lowered his ERA to 4.13. It os obvious that when Colon and Hughes do return they will be starters. The question is what will happen to Nova when they come back? On the basis of this effort, it would be inconceivable they would put him in the bullpen.
  • Rodriguez continues to hit with a 2-for-4 night with a run scored and an RBI. Though Rodriguez is nursing a sore shoulder it is not interfering with his play at all. He also made a nice diving stab to rob Heisey of a hit. Rodriguez is hitting .292 with 13 home runs and 44 RBIs.
  • Cano is beginning to get his average back over .300. He also was 2-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Cano now has a nine-game hitting streak in which he is 15-for-38 (.395) with two home runs and six RBIs. He is now hitting .295 on the season with 14 home runs and 47 RBIs.
  • Swisher is doing his job in the leadoff spot against left-handers. He was 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored against Wood. He is 4-for-13 (.308) from the leadoff spot since Derek Jeter was injured.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • With David Robertson unavailable to pitch, Girardi decided to close the ninth with Luis Ayala and Boone Logan. However, Ayala gave up a leadoff single to Phillips and Logan hit Votto with a pitch to put the Reds in position for their major league-leading 23rd comeback. Fortunately, Rivera restored order. But it does show the Yankee bullpen does have a soft underbelly than can be exploited. The Yankees would love to have a healthy Pedro Feliciano and Rafael Soriano back soon to shore up the bullpen.
  • Andruw Jones had a severe brain cramp in the third inning and it short-circuited a potential big inning. With one out, Cano and Martin hit back-to-back singles. Jones then sent a slow bouncer to Rolen at third. Rolen forced Martin at third but Martin was able to upend Philips at second. However, Jones did not run the grounder out because he thought there were already two outs. Phillips got back up and threw Jones out by 50 feet. Jones is already on thin ice with the Yankees with his lack of production. Now it looks as if he is going to be a bit lighter in the wallet.
  • Eduardo Nunez got caught leaning after he singled to lead off the fourth inning and Wood picked him off first. These mistakes allowed Wood to survive that shaky first inning and pitch seven innings.
ON DECK
The Yankees will play the second of their three road contests against the Reds on Tuesday.
The Yankees will start veteran minor-league right-hander Brian Gordon (0-0, 3.38 ERA) in his second major-league start for the Yankees. In his first start, Gordon, 32, gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Rangers on Thursday. He did not get a decision but the Yankees did win the game. The former outfielder will get to test his hitting skills against the Reds.
The Reds are starting right-hander Johnny Cueto (4-2, 1.68 ERA), who could not pitch on Monday due to a stiff neck. He has been the Reds best pitcher since being activated from the disabled list in May. He is 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA against the Yankees in his career.
Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by the MLB Network and locally by MY9.

 

 

Swish’s Swat Honors Father As Yanks Pound Cubs

GAME 70

YANKEES 10, CUBS 4

Nick Swisher never got a chance to see his father, Steve, play at Wrigley Field as a member of the Cubs. He was not born until three years after his father left the Cubs in 1977. But on this Father’s Day he paid homage to the former Cubs catcher by blasting a big home run for the Yankees against the Cubs at the hallowed Chicago venue in front of national television audience.

The younger Swisher smacked a three-run home run deep into the bleachers in right-center in the top of the eighth inning off right-hander Chris Carpenter to break a 4-4 tie and New York added three more runs in the ninth to finally show the upstart Cubs who was boss in their three-game weekend series.

Yankees ace left-hander CC Sabathia (9-4) won his sixth game in his last seven starts and is now tied with six other pitchers for the major-league lead in victories. But for Sabathia, this was not his best outing and he actually trailed the game 4-1 after giving up a three-run home run to former Yankee Rafael Soriano with two outs in the third inning.

Sabathia gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk and he fanned three batters in seven innings of work. Having trouble with command of his fastball, Sabathia adjusted to throw more breaking pitches and he only gave up two hits over the last four innings to get credit for the victory.

As they have so often, the Yankee offense got Sabathia back into the game. Brett Gardner led off the game with a home run off Cubs starter Randy Wells. But the Yankees struggled a bit with Wells before scoring two runs in the fourth and a single run in the sixth.

Swisher, who finished the night 3-for-5 with four RBIs, singled in Alex Rodriguez with one out in the fourth inning. Eduardo Nunez scored Robinson Cano two batters later on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice groundout to third. The two-run inning was set up on a mental error by Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro. After Rodriguez drew a one-out walk, Cano hit a sure groundball out to third baseman Aramis Ramirez. But Castro pulled his foot off the second-base bag before he caught the ball and Rodriguez and Cano both were ruled safe.

Two innings later, the Yankees tied the game. Rodriguez led off with a single. A groundout by Cano advanced Rodriguez to second and Swisher singled to move Rodriguez to third. After a Wells wild pitch advanced Swisher to second, Russell Martin launched a sacrifice fly to right to score Rodriguez.

The Yankees then seized control of the game in the eighth inning on Cubs lefty reliever Sean Marshall (3-2). Rodriguez opened the frame with a broken-bat single to left. Cano followed by lacing a single to right-center to advance Rodriguez to third.

Cubs manager Mike Quade elected to bring in the right-handed Carpenter to force Swisher to hit from his weaker side this season, the left side. However, Carpenter fell behind by sailing two straight pitches high and way outside. Carpenter then elected to throw a fastball in the middle of the plate and Swisher got all of it for his seventh home run of the season, giving the Yankees a 7-4 lead and sending a lot of the Cubs fans among the 41,828 in attendance home early.

With the victory, the Yankees have improved to 41-29 and they are a season-high 12 games over .500. They also remain 1 1/2 games in back of the first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Cubs, meanwhile, are heading in the opposite direction. They are now 29-42.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Swisher’s 3-for-5 night has him headed in the right direction with his batting average. He raised his batting average to .237. After hitting .225 in April and .200 in May, Swisher is hitting .309 in June with four home runs and 13 RBIs. He is now hitting .187 against right-handers with four home runs and 20 RBIs.
  • Rodriguez reached base every time up and was 3-for-4 with two singles, a double, a walk, scored three runs and drove in another. Rodriguez is now hitting .289 on the season with 13 home runs and 42 RBIs. Though he may not be hitting for as much power, Rodriguez is tearing up June with a .295 average.
  • Gardner was 3-for-5 with a double, a home run, scored two runs and drove in one. That means in the six games he and Swisher have shared the leadoff spot in place of the injured Derek Jeter they are a combined 10-for-23 (.435) with an on-base percentage of .552. Manager Joe Girardi might have a tough decision to make about the leadoff spot when Jeter returns.
  • Martin was showing no ill effects from his home-plate collision on Saturday with Carlos Pena and was 1-for-3 with a walk and had another bid for hit taken away from him in the ninth. Martin’s sac fly in the sixth tied the game and set the stage for the Yankees’ six-run explosion in the final two frames.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • Sabathia was fortunate to be able recover after a rocky beginning. He gave up four runs on six hits in the first and third innings, but he retired 12 of the last 13 hitters he faced to salvage a victory on a night when he did not have his best command. Sabathia is sixth in the American League in run support. The Yankees are averaging 7.89 runs a game for him.
  • Nunez was only the Yankee starter, except Sabathia, to not get a hit in the game. He was 0-for-3 with a walk but did drive in a run on a bases-loaded groundout in the fourth. It is only the second game in which he has started for Jeter at shortstop and he did not get a hit.
  • The Yankees called upon right-hander Jeff Marquez, 26, to pitch the ninth with a 10-4 lead. However, Marquez made it a Navy appearance — it was not just a job it was an adventure. First Marquez dropped a Mark Teixeira flip on a Kosuke Fukodome grounder for an error. He then gave up a sharp single to Reed Johnson. Girardi then reluctantly ordered Mariano Rivera to warm up. Next Marquez went to full counts on Starlin Castro and Jeff Baker before retiring them. Then Aramis Ramirez lashed a bad-hop single that knocked over Ramiro Pena, who was subbing for Rodriguez at third base. But Marquez ended the game by retiring Soriano on a routine fly to center.

BOMBER BANTER

Phil Hughes struck out seven batters in 4 1/3 innings of a rehab assignment on Sunday with Class-A Staten Island in Brooklyn. Hughes gave up one run on three hits and a walk in a 61-pitch outing. It was Hughes first game since he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. More important good news for the Yankees was Hughes’ velocity. He averaged in the 92-93 range and topped out at 95 mph. Hughes was unable to reach 90 mph consistently throughout spring training. Hughes is scheduled to make a another rehab start with Double-A Trenton in five days and he possibly could be activated within two weeks.  . . .  Rodriguez downplayed concerns about a left shoulder injury that has been nagging the third baseman for the past few weeks. Girardi disputed a published report that it was a strain. He said it was just soreness and Rodriguez has been receiving treatment for it for about 10 days.

ON DECK

The Yankees, having won the Cub series and having also won eight of their last 10 games, continue their interleague road trip to Cincinnatti for a three-game series starting on Monday.

The Yankees will open the series with 24-year-old right-hander Ivan Nova (6-4, 4.46 ERA) on the mound. Nunez leads the A.L. and is second in the majors in run support. The Yankees average 9.41 runs per start for him. Nunez gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings against Texas on Wednesday but the Yankees handed him a victory by scoring 12 runs for him. He has never faced the Reds.

The Red will counter with 25-year-old right-hander Johnny Cueto (4-2, 1.68 ERA). Cueto gave up one unearned run on five hits over innings in a victory over the Dodgers on Tuesday . Cueto is 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA against the Yankees in his career.

Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by ESPN and locally by the YES Network.

Swish’s Swat Honors Father As Yanks Pound Cubs

GAME 70

YANKEES 10, CUBS 4

Nick Swisher never got a chance to see he father, Steve, play at Wrigley Field. But on this Father’s Day he paid homage to the former Cubs catcher by blasting a big home run at the hallowed venue in front of national television audience.

The younger Swisher smacked a three-run home run deep into the bleachers in right-center in the top of the eighth inning off right-hander Chris Carpenter to break a 4-4 tie and New York added three more runs in the ninth to finally show the upstart Chicago Cubs who was boss in the three-game weekend series.

Yankees ace left-hander CC Sabathia (9-4) won his sixth game in his last seven starts and is now tied with six other pitchers for the major-league lead in victories. But for Sabathia, this was not his best outing and he actually trailed the game 4-1 after giving up a three-run home run to former Yankee Rafael Soriano with two out in the third inning.

Sabathia gave up four runs on eight hits and a walk and he fanned three batters in seven innings of work. Having trouble with command of his fastball, Sabathia adjusted to throw more breaking pitches and he only gave up two hits over the last four innings to get credit for the victory.

Sabathia allowed the Yankee offense to get him back into the game. After Brett Gardner led off the game with a home run off Cubs starter Randy Wells, the Yankees got back in the game with two runs in the fourth and a single run in the sixth off Wells.

Swisher, who finished the night 3-for-5 with four RBIs, singled in Alex Rodriguez with one out in the fourth inning. Eduardo Nunez scored Robinson Cano two batters later on a bases-loaded fielder’s choice groundout to third. The two-run inning was setup on a mental error by Cubs shortstop Starlin Castro. After Rodriguez drew a one-out walk, Cano hit a sure groundout to third baseman Aramis Ramirez. But Castro pulled his foot off the second-base bag before he caught the ball and Rodriguez and Cano both were ruled safe.

Two innings later, the Yankees tied the game. Rodriguez led off with a single. A groundout by Cano advanced Rodriguez to second and Swisher singled to moved Rodriguez to third. After a Wells wild pitch advanced Swisher to second, Russell Martin launched a sacrifice fly to right to score Rodriguez.

The Yankees then seized control of the game in the eighth inning on Cubs lefty reliever Sean Marshall (3-2). Rodriguez opened the frame with a broken-bat single to left. Cano followed by lacing a single to right-center to advance Rodriguez to third.

Cubs manager Mike Quade elected to bring in the right-handed Carpenter to force Swisher to hit from his weaker side this season, the left side. However, Carpenter fell behind by sailing two straight pitches high and way outside. Carpenter then elected to throw a fastball in the middle of the plate and Swisher got all of it to blast it deep into the right-centerfield bleachers, giving the Yankees a 7-4 lead and a lot of the Cubs fans among the 41,828 in attendance home early.

With the victory, the Yankees have improved to 41-29 and they are a season-high 12 games over .500. They also remain 1 1/2 games in back of the first-place Boston Red Sox in the American League East. The Cubs, meanwhile, are heading in the opposite direction. They are now 29-42.

PINSTRIPE POSITIVES

  • Swisher 3-for-5 night has him headed in the right direction with his batting average. He raised his batting average to .237. After hitting .225 in April and .200 in May, Swisher is hitting .309 in June with four home runs and 13 RBIs. He is now hitting .187 against right-handers with four home runs and 20 RBIs.
  • Rodriguez reached base every time up and was 3-for-4 with two singles, a double, a walk, scored three runs and drove in another. Rodriguez is now hitting .289 on the season with 13 home runs and 42 RBIs. Though he may not be hitting for power, Rodriguez is tearing up June with a .295 average.
  • Gardner was 3-for-5 with a double, a home run, scored two runs and drove in one. That mean in the six games he and Swisher have shared the leadoff spot in place of the injured Derek Jeter they are a combined 10-for-23 (.435) with an on-base percentage of .552. Manager Joe Girardi might have a decision to make about the leadoff spot when Jeter returns.
  • Martin was showing no ill effects from his home-plate collision on Saturday with Carlos Pena and was 1-for-3 with a walk and had another bid for hit taken away in the ninth. Martin’s sac fly in the sixth tied the game and set the stage for the Yankees’ six-run explosion in the final two frames.
NAGGING NEGATIVES
  • Sabathia was fortunate to be able recover after a rocky beginning. He gave up four runs on six hits in the first and third innings, but he retired 12 of the last 13 hitters he faced to salvage a victory on a night when he did not have his best command. Sabathia is sixth in the American League in run support. The Yankees are averaging 7.89 runs a game for him.
  • Nunez was only the Yankee starter, except Sabathia, to not get a hit in the game. He was 0-for-3 with a walk but did drive in a run on a bases-loaded groundout in the fourth. It is only the second game in which he has started for Jeter at shortstop that he did not get a hit.
  • The Yankees called upon right-hander Jeff Marquez, 26, to pitch the ninth with a 10-4 lead. However, Marquez made it a Navy appearance — it was not just a job it was an adventure. First Marquez dropped a Mark Teixeira flip on a Kosuke Fukodome grounder for an error. He then gave a single to Reed Johnson. Girardi then ordered Mariano Rivera to warm up. Next Marquez went to full counts on Starlin Castro and Jeff Baker before retiring them. Then Aramis Ramirez lashed a bad-hop single that knocked over Ramiro Pena, who was subbing for Rodriguez at third base. But Marquez ended the game by retiring Soriano on a routine fly to center.

BOMBER BANTER

Phil Hughes struck out seven batters in 4 1/3 innings of a rehab assignment on Sunday with Class-A Staten Island in Brooklyn. Hughes gave one run on three hits and a walk in a 61-pitch outing. It was Hughes first game since he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation. More important news for the Yankees was Hughes’ velocity. He averaged in the 92-93 range and topped out at 95 mph. Hughes was unable to reach 90 mph consistently throughout spring training. Hughes is scheduled to make a another rehab start with Double-A Trenton in five days and he possible could be activated within two weeks.  . . .  Rodriguez downplayed concerns about a left shoulder injury that has been nagging the third baseman for the past few weeks. Girardi disputed the report that it was a strain. He said it was just soreness and Rodriguez has been receiving treatment for it for about 10 days.

 

ON DECK

The Yankees, having won the Cub series and having also won eight of their last 10 games, continue their interleague road trip to Cincinnatti for a three-game series starting on Monday.

 

The Yankees will open the series with 24-year-old right-hander Ivan Nova (6-4, 4.46 ERA) on the mound. Nunez leads the A.L. and is second in the majors in run support. The Yankees average 9.41 runs per start for him. Nunez gave up four runs on seven hits and three walks in 5 2/3 innings against Texas on Wednesday but the Yankees handed him a victory by scoring 12 runs for him. He has never faced the Reds.

 

The Red will counter with 25-year-old right-hander Johnny Cueto (4-2, 1.68 ERA). Cueto gave up one unearned run on five hits over innings in a victory over the Dodgers on Tuesday . Cueto is 0-1 with a 1.80 ERA against the Yankees in his career.

 

Game-time will be 7:10 p.m. EDT and the game will be telecast nationally by ESPN and locally by the YES Network.

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.